Publication 3954

Zeleny M. (1985) Spontaneous social orders. International Journal of General Systems 11: 2–117. Fulltext at
As the results of man-engineered experiments with social design, social “revolution”, socialist “architectures”, and other feats of “social engineering”, are crumbling down, they are causing large-scale human suffering through their failures. There is a renewed awareness that self-organizing and spontaneous properties of complex social systems are much too powerful (and much too vulnerable at the same lime) to respond or be exposed to the endless, reductionistic “tinkering” of policy “makers”, “scientists” of the artificial, and “engineers of human souls”. The mankind is again ready to learn how to “trigger”, “catalyze”, “sustain” and “lead-manage” a spontaneous process of social self-organization; it is becoming less inclined to design another “central super-controller”, “information-processing command system”, or “World Brain”. The purpose of this paper is to show: (1) that theories dealing with “spontaneous social orders” have deep historical roots and (2) that systems sciences are in a good position (better than economics, engineering or sociology) to build upon these roots and expand the theories into useful, practical methodologies. For example, modern theories of autopoiesis and order through fluctuations, especially their rich, computer-based simulation experiments, provide a good and solid point of departure.

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